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University Updates Campus Community on Actions to Combat Racism and Discrimination

University Updates Campus Community on Actions to Combat Racism and Discrimination

In late August, University President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., announced the launch of a Diversity and Inclusion website that now resides prominently on the University's website and provides a consolidated overview and access point for resources and educational efforts pertaining to Diversity and Inclusion across campus.

Father Pilarz also highlighted key actions on which he and his Cabinet focused over the summer months, many of which related to areas of concern that were most frequently raised in June after the death of George Floyd and again in August with the events in Kenosha, Wisconsin, surrounding the shooting of Jacob Blake and three protesters.

"We must all commit ourselves to this work and accept nothing less than a community in which everyone feels welcome and safe." - University President Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.

“Creating a welcoming and supportive community is uniquely central to Scranton’s Catholic and Jesuit mission,” Father Pilarz said. “There is so much more to be done. We must all commit ourselves to this work and accept nothing less than a community in which everyone feels welcome and safe.”

In his announcement to the campus community, he outlined several actions that were immediately put into place at the University:

  • A new Policy on Racism, Discrimination, Bias and Inclusion for all members of the University community was drafted, as Fr. Pilarz worked with the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), Student Life and Human Resources to draft a new Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy in June. This policy can be accessed by clicking here.
  • Students, faculty and staff may now file reports of harassment, discrimination, bias or hate online and anonymously.
  • OED will now provide training on the policy to all recently hired faculty and staff. This began on Aug. 3, when the department sent out online training to faculty and staff on the topic of microaggression and implicit bias, the first of three such trainings of the semester.
  • The University solidified long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion by firmly embedding them into the new strategic plan.
  • The working group on hiring for diversity will strategize effective ways to deepen and grow the racial and ethnic diversity of our faculty and staff. The group also developed a Toolkit for Inclusionary Recruitment and Hiring last year and updated training for faculty hiring to include implicit bias.
  • Student Life developed and implemented a session for all incoming students that focused on diversity and inclusion and educated students about microaggressions as part of every Summer Orientation session.
  • Faculty had productive discussions to ensure that a review of general education this year includes a focus on the development and implementation of a curricular component that addresses racism and discrimination.
  • Fr. Pilarz approved a proposal from the History Department to hire a full-time faculty member with a focus on African American history. Other academic departments have submitted proposals for new faculty lines to strengthen our curriculum and help to diversify our faculty.
  • For current students, The Cross Cultural Centers sponsored two dialogue series, one of which focused on understanding race, racism, and racial identity and privilege. Student Government, meanwhile, planned various activities, including a workshop open to the campus community in October as a condensed version of a Multicultural Counseling course taught in the Counseling & Human Services department.

Fr. Pilarz also announced a working group of faculty and staff to assist OED in identifying and implementing steps to expand the pool of candidates and intentionally seek to build a faculty and staff that better represent the growing diversity of the Scranton student body.

For full information on the University’s continued Actions to Combat Racism and Discrimination, please visit the University’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion website here.

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